Cookies (and more) for those who hate to cook

Years ago, in holidays past, I enjoyed cooking.  Now, four kids and a two decades later, it’s not my thing. In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid actually making food. My family survives on grocery pre-made goodies, a host of frozen main dishes from Trader Joe’s, and their wits. So, when the AAR staff decided to share their favorite holiday cookie recipes, I was sure I’d have nothing to contribute. But, as Blythe pointed out, I’m probably not the only non-cooker in our readership. And, upon occasion, even those of us who avoid the kitchen do have to produce “home made” baked goods.

So, for those whom home-made treats are something other people do, here are few easy short cuts.

1) Buy slice and bake gingerbread cookies, roll them into little balls and dunk them into colored sugar. Cook them for 2/3 the time on the label. They’ll be soft, sweet, and mildly festive.

2) Make boxed brownies but add a bag of chocolate fudge pudding, a cup of chocolate chips, and a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture. Bake according to what it says on the box. Let cool completely before cutting. You’ll have deeply fudgy brownies the chocoholics in your life will love.

3) Dump a bag of frozen berries into a rectangular baking pan. Add in a package of vanilla pudding and a teaspoon of vanilla. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl, melt a stick of butter. Add a cup of granola, a cup of quick oats, and a cup of brown sugar. Mix together and put on top of berry mixture. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice-cream and tell your kids it’s a “healthy” dessert because it has fruit and fiber.

4) Get to know the best frozen desserts at your grocery store. I–and my family–will vouch for almost anything in the Trader Joe’s cake and pie section. In fact, it’s hard to beat TJ’s frozen New York Cheesecake (the one in the blue box) or their Chocolate Ganache Torte. Both vanish the minute I put them on our kitchen counter.

5) Instead of bringing baked goods to the party, show up with a good but inexpensive bottle of bubbly. Your hosts won’t mind a bit!

Happy holidays!

Dabney AAR

3 Responses to “Cookies (and more) for those who hate to cook”

  1. Leigh AAR says:

    “Make boxed brownies but add a bag of chocolate fudge pudding, a cup of chocolate chips, and a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture”.

    When you say bag of chocolate fudge pudding are you talking about Jello pudding – the small size? If you do add Jello pudding- do you add more liquid to the mix?

    I have never made a cheese cake. I always buy them. Although one year a friend’s mother made one for my boyfriend at the time, birthday. It was heaven.

  2. DabneyAAR says:

    Leigh AAR: “Make boxed brownies but add a bag of chocolate fudge pudding, a cup of chocolate chips, and a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture”.

    When you say bag of chocolate fudge pudding are you talking about Jello pudding – the small size? If you do add Jello pudding- do you add more liquid to the mix?

    Yes, the small packs and no, I don’t add more liquid. Sometimes, just for kicks, I add an extra egg.

  3. maggie b. says:

    I like the The Cake Mix Doctor recipe books. Delicious deserts with half the effort. All the recipes use a cake mix base. Easy and delightful.